Sales Without Substance

In our Repost series, we re-publish articles from the TBF archives that continue to provide insight. This post, original post in October 2003, was one of the first commentary posts written by Kathryn.

Retailers use several psychology-based methods to get consumers to purchase their items. In “Mind your Pricing Cues” in the September 2003 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Eric Anderson and Duncan Simester explore how shoppers pay more for items ending in the number “9,” than in any other number. Also how the selective use of “SALE” signs influence us to purchase items, regardless of whether they are actually on sale.

As a Budget Fashionista, I love a good sale. The keyword is “SALE.” Marketers, business people, CEOs who are out of touch with Budget Fashionistas like ourselves, fail to realize that it is not the sale sign alone that drives us to purchase. It is finding the “SALE.” It is going to the Prada Sample Sale and finding a Miu Miu tote for $45. It is finding a vintage Gucci baguette circa 1985 at the local Goodwill for $30. It finding white oxford shirts at Macy’s for $4.99. Behind every “SALE” there must be a “FIND.”